Thursday, December 21, 2006

You can call me "Doctor"

Yes, it's true. I've finally jumped that hurdle. Granted, it's not been a clean break from my university and my crazy boss, but a major step in the right direction. My blood pressure has dropped dramatically, and I've been sleeping well.

Like the idiot that he is, my boss scheduled his flight the morning of my big public defense. He was supposed to land at 10:20am, get to campus around 11am, and be ready for my talk to start at noon. He called about 10:30 to say that his plane had to make an emergency landing due to mechanical failures, so he figured he'd be late. He said to go ahead and start without him.

Sweet. Totally lessened my chances for public humiliation. Always a good thing. Consequently I was much less nervous. I still wanted to throw up, but not at much.

The talk went well, I was able to keep most people awake and even fielded some questions. My boss walked in just as the first person was walking out. He'd missed the whole thing. Awesome.

Then started the actual "defense" where my committee sits around and grills me with questions about my thesis, my talk, and my work. It totally blew, but thankfully only lasted an hour (I've heard horror stories of 3 hour defenses - I consider myself lucky). Then the "please stay in academic science" talk started, along with "don't shy away from it because it's hard." Um, yeah. If I was that kind of person, I wouldn't be here, would I? And then they capped it off with bitching about a former grad student who is no longer in academic science, but an elementary school teacher instead. Yeah, she's so selfish, wasting her Ph.D like that. I mean, c'mon, educating America's youth? Pffft!

On the way back to my building, my boss says to me "I noticed your father didn't show up."

"That's because he's dead."

"Oh. Oh. So what did you mean by your dedication?"

"That I hope where ever he is, that he's proud of me."

"Oh, I thought that maybe he wasn't supportive of you getting a Ph.D so you were saying [assuming a snotty tone of voice] 'So there, Dad, I hope you're proud of me now [stick out tongue].'"

"Ah, no. Not at all."

"Oh, I see, because that's what it sounded like to me."

"That's because you're crazy," I said, to myself, in my head. Damn my better judgement!

Walking the half block to my building my boss proceeded to get winded and sweaty. I was doing better than him wearing heels and carrying giant cake. And yes, he was wearing his black (you know, "slimming") Member's Only jacket. Along with the ubiquitous maroon button-down shirt and khakis.

I declined his offer to get something to eat or a drink so we sat around with my Mom and my labmate and chatted. Come 3:30 he says he's going to head for the airport for his 6pm flight. I found out later he was spotted in the building at 5pm. He'd blown me off to go talk with professors. Whatever. I went home and took a 3 hour nap, then treated Mom to dinner.

The next day I tied up some loose ends and had an awesome going away party. I've made a lot of good friends in Cleveland, and it was nice to be able to say goodbye.

Yesterday Mom and I crammed as much of my shit into my little car as we could and hit the road to WI. I have a LOT of shit. The saying is entirely true that you don't know how much crap you have until you try to box it all up. I had to leave behind my plants, my cleaning supplies, and all of my food. Such is life.

Side note: my Mother is also crazy and has a very weird sense of priorities when it comes to packing. She kept trying to pack food and leave important stuff. I would also like the record to show that she WAY overpacked for the 4 days she was in Cleveland. If she would have packed like a normal, rational person, we probably could have fit most of what was left in the car. She had an overstuffed suitcase, 2 toiletry bags (one was a converted gardening tool bag, and one a fancy multi-pocket fold up deal), a wheely soft-sided cooler and about 7 pairs of footwear (shoes AND boots). Who needs that much stuff for 4 days??? [sigh] Whatever.

We had a pleasantly uneventful 11 hour drive home.

Today I did some laundry, some last minute Christmas shopping, and set up my utilities in Rochester. Yay! I'm so excited about my new place.

Now I need to finish up the corrections to my thesis, get my bosses approval of them, and upload my thesis to the university website (shounds straight forward but I garauntee it'll take forever). I also have to keep working on this second paper that still hasn't been submitted for publication yet. My boss decided last week on more experiments he wants done for the paper. Yeah, great timing. Glad I don't have to do them, but it sure it dragging things out A LOT. Plus I don't like him dumping on my labmates on my behalf.

Happy holidays to you and yours!


Blogger dressagemom said...

I can't even believe that he said that about your dad. Jesus. So much ignorance...hay maybe that should have been one of the Seven Not-So-Deadly Misfortunes!

Congrats Kate. You got your PhD despite your boss. Who is a total tool.

4:23 PM  
Blogger craig said...

Sorry we missed your going-away shin-ding. We're dumb. And congratulations. I guess we can't call you "Miss Kate" any longer; now it's "Dr. Kate." That's awesome. And, y'know, a little sexy, too.

8:34 PM  
Blogger dressagemom said...

Okay, just let me say that I've read the following passage about a dozen times -

"I noticed your father didn't show up."

"That's because he's dead."

And I laugh every time. Because I can just imagine the way you both said it. If I had been there I might have peed my panties. Just a little.

5:18 PM  

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